Smiling at Gladiolus

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Gardening is peaceful to me, as it probably is to anyone who gardens. Those who don’t find calmness and pride in it probably hire landscapers. I even find picking weeds makes me happy. Although I like to be intellectual, sometimes the mindless activity of pulling weeds stimulates my mind because it can drift along with the breeze; thoughts wonder unforced and unprovoked. I do some of my best thinking hunkered down along the flower beds with dirty fingernails. Gloves just done give me the ability to snag those tiny, tricky weeds.

Yesterday, amongst my other chores, I found myself gazing at the pride of my garden, the gladiolus. They stun me each summer with their beauty and each summer I smile as I pull into the driveway or as I pull away and see their bright colors on tall stems. For the time in between, I’m sure a dog walker or two can appreciate them, but otherwise they complete their short cycle of blooming beauty and whither during the high heat of July, generally ignored and unappreciated.

I decided to cut some and enjoy them in the main area of the house and I can’t tell you how many times I stopped to smile at the arrangement as I walked by this weekend. For someone who loves nature so much, I’m not sure why I hadn’t started to bring the outside in a long time ago. Maybe I felt bad cutting the plants up, but they will certainly be enjoyed in here more. After all, bouquets aren’t grown in a vase, the flowers all grow in dirt somewhere.

Mach 3 Warms My Heart

I was affected by propaganda, in a good way.  We went to the Air Show at Maguire Air Force Base this weekend and it was quite a patriotic event.  It was a bit like “Bring your daughter” to work day, but for the public.  My husband was in the Navy but it’s been a few years since I’d been on a military base.  It seems the pride and respect for the military was not too far under the surface.

Once a jet breaks the sound barrier and hits Mach 3 over your head, it’s hard to not pay attention to the precision and pure awe of what some of our men and women are capable of.  While I’d be getting sick, they reach heights with twists and turns that make my body hurt just thinking about it.  They flew prop planes, helicopters and exhibited mission-like exercises.

Besides giving the tax payers a peek into the equipment that the military has thankfully splurged on, the event is emceed in a fashion reminiscent of old WWII news shorts that would play before a movie.  There is pomp and circumstance to backdrop the expansive array of aircraft on display on the ground and in the air.  You’d have to be made of stone to not feel proud of the Air Force capabilities.  For a second, I had wished my husband had stayed enlisted.

Then I think about the days when he was my boyfriend, and he worked for fourteen hours at times or inconveniently had gate duty on a weekend and how annoying it seemed.  When I saw the men and women who were forced to spend their weekend guiding civilians on how to park their cars or which direction to walk, I didn’t see the discontent in their faces.  They were respectful and kind, while parents dragged oversized strollers onto the shuttle buses and grubby little hands touched everything that they scrubbed and shined for the big weekend.  There is pride there.  Though I’m not naive enough to know there weren’t gripes, they didn’t show it.  They give a lot more than their time, they’d give their lives and that’s the hardest part of having military in the family.

Though we took probably a hundred photos of various types of aircraft, old and new, I’ve attached a brief sampling.

My husband was right; the military must get a really great deal on flat gray paint.

Women like Audrey and Diana

Did you ever think about how the most iconic and fascinating women are usually the most insecure?  Of course this is something we learn post-mortem usually.  But looking back, the signs are usually so blatantly obvious.

As I looked through some biographies on my bookshelf, I thought about two iconic females represented there; Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana.  Two women that I had admiration for; Audrey I discovered in my late teens after she’d already been gone for years and Princess Diana who fascinated me from childhood and most of the world from the very start.  Two generous and stylish women, who more often than not, played by their own rules.

Audrey

“If you want to get psychological, you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority.  I couldn’t conquer these feelings by acting indecisive.  I found the only way to get the better of them was by putting my foot down, by adopting a forceful and concentrated drive.”  – Audrey Hepburn

They individually gave so much to the world, through charity and hands-on efforts in previously disregarded regions that needed a spotlight from a respected figure.  Both battled eating disorders, depression and unfulfilling relationships; often waging a war with an inferiority complex and constant outside pressure.  Both finding solice in children and humanitarianism.  I wonder if it takes such a sensitive and genuine character to produce such admirable gifts, to be so altruistic.  Could an egotistical and self-assured woman be so generous?

They say so much of who we are stems from our childhood.  Both of these women came from broken homes and found in their youth, comfort in solitude.   They eventually went from unknown young ladies to instant celebrities, with constant criticism and a yearning for normalcy.  I think it takes a special kind of woman to face the world in such a public way and despite personal battles, finding happiness in the people they can trust and in the causes they can fight for.

A young Diana Spencer

“I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved. I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I am very happy to do that, I want to do that.”    Princess Diana

 

Reference:  “How to be Lovely” by Melissa Hellstern